“You are so lively, vibrant, ambitious, warm-hearted, compassionate with excellent interpersonal skills therefore you should be a “Sales Executive” these are words that came out of my ex-boss’s mouth. Little did he know that sales was definitely not my strength however building, maintaining and retaining business relationships was my expertise.
One thing I am proud of is my capability in building strong meaningful relationships. In my previous jobs and business I managed to form solid bonds with my clients, some who later became friends. I remember working for a broker house as an Accounts Executive, my responsibility was to look after my client and offer them unforgettable, excellent and value -add customer service. I did this so well that I ended up having a desk permanently in their building because they wanted me close. I started of doing sales then as months passed I approached my boss and negotiated that I preferred to focus on Customer Relation Management. I was brilliant in this role and this had a major positive impact on their staff member’s well-being.
We build relationships constantly in our lives, some consciously and some not. With maturity, I have learnt to build solid valuable relationships. I managed to sieve out bad relationships and retain only good ones. I have learned the art of elimination and prefer quality relations over quantity.
As mentioned during class, there are different types of relationships such as family, business, romantic, acquaintanceship and friendship. I grew up in a big family environment with five siblings, to paint a picture, our breakfast was like a big event. Each person would prepare his or her own food i.e last night left overs, some a full meal and with others just a peanut butter and jam sandwich therefore soul food has always brought us together as a family. It would be a chaotic yet rewarding morning but I loved every minute of it and those memories live on. This tradition transpired into a norm that I will sustain and value always. Whoever is invited to my home must feel comfortable, eat good food and enjoy time spend with me. To this day, I sit, at the dinner table with my family, have breakfast, lunch and dinner and use this time to connect and check in with my loved ones.
On the other hand, I am one of those people who only allow certain people in my space. I am guarded and do not let people in easily. It is a matter of people having to proof themselves to me before I open up to them. Hence, I only keep quality friendships and not quantity friendships. It is hard for me to meet someone in a short period of time and call them “my friend” and I notice that lately there is a trend that people just follow by calling each other “chomi” or “my friend”… nonetheless the facilitation class has given me a set of skills to open up to others especially to people that I never thought I would be vulnerable with.
After class, I took my learning and put it into practice, again it was something that I did unconsciously but when I reflected on it. I realised that I am not easily approachable but once I let someone in, they enjoy the best of me. My family and I (by now it should be obvious that I am crazy about my family…family is of fundamental importance to me), went to my son’s school for a family “nite fever” event. Most parents were there but again, I am very choosy about who I keep as friends. I met a lady who at first from a distance never seemed like someone I can relate to but once we engaged we hit it off and had a lot in common. She had a lot I can draw from and I enjoyed our deep conversation. I let her in a little and she couldn’t stop telling me how wonderful I am and guess what? I said the same to her as well.
Relationships are formed often than we can ever think of but I believe the foundation must be solid and the purpose must be clear. It takes hard work to build meaningful relationships and if all parties have the same objective and equally put effort into the relationship, it will blossom, become fruitful and bring good rewards, endless support and loyalty.
Is it necessary to form relationships? Yes, it is because we need each other.
Like Brenda Fassie’s song… “Umuntu ngumuntu nga bantu” A person is a person through or because of others. You are who you are because of how you relate to others around you.